• Specific
  • Behavioural
  • Balanced

Specific:            focus on actual events and real examples, not on general

Behavioural:      focus on the person’s behaviour not their personality

Balanced:          mix positive and negative comments, if possible in a 2:1 ratio 

Helpful                       Unhelpful                 
Specific General
Behavioural Personality
Balanced Unbalanced
Descriptive Evaluative
Constructive Destructive
Focus on feedback recipient Focus on the feedback giver
Requested Imposed
Objective Subjective
Timely Late / delayed
Sufficient Too much
Private Public
Clear Confused
Open questions Closed / leading questions


  • Clarify aims / objectives for individual, team, organisation
  • Reinforce good practice / behaviour
  • Limit and draw attention to poor behaviour – identify learning needs
  • Motivate and encourage – show care, concern and interest
  • Contribute to individual, team and organisational learning


  • Conducive/comfortable environment
  • Focussed without disruptions
  • Honest and open
  • Active listening
  • Mutuality


  • Regularly / frequently – catch someone doing something right
  • Formally – at least annual appraisal with 4 or 6 monthly reviews
  • As soon as possible after a particularly good or bad event
  • When something has changed significantly (job, team, context, environment)
  • When it’s asked for

For appraisals

  • Review past goals and performance
  • Set new goals and assessment / review process
  • Identify learning and support needs
  • Keep records


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This work by Peter Kenworthy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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